Tourism groups plan to fight for Pure Michigan
LANSING— The promotional work of the the state’s visitors bureaus is closely tied to the popular Pure Michigan tourism advertising campaign — which Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer eliminated Monday from the state’s budget.
“Within the industry we’re extremely disappointed with the governor’s decision to veto Pure Michigan funding,” said Sally Laukitis, executive director of the Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Whitmer signed 16 state budgets for fiscal year 2020 on Monday and issued 147 line-item vetoes to the Republican-passed proposal that totaled $947 million in funding.
It is possible that some of the Pure Michigan promotional campaign funding will be restored as budget negotiations take place. That is what Laukitis is hoping for.
“We will be working aggressively with our partners within the legislature and administration to restore funding — it’s that critical,” Laukitis said.
The Pure Michigan marketing campaign received $36 million in the 2019 fiscal year that ended Monday. The Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has been an official partner with Pure Michigan since the partnership program started, Laukitis said.
The Pure Michigan advertising campaign launched in 2008 by the state of Michigan to market the state as a tourism destination. The campaign features the voice of actor and comedian, Tim Allen.
Critics say the worth of the popular campaign is hard to measure fiscally. Laukitis says it has an incredible track record of increasing Michigan’s tourism industry.
A study by Longwoods International, a market research and consulting firm which specializes in the travel and tourism industry, said Pure Michigan drove five million out-of-state visitors to the state in 2016.
Those visitors spent $1.5 billion at Michigan businesses and generated $107 million in state tax revenue.
The campaign also garnered top awards from travel and advertising associations.
The U.S. Travel Association and the National Council of State Tourism Directors recognized Pure Michigan with 19 Mercury Awards, which honor “excellence and creative accomplishment at the state level in tourism marketing and promotion.”
“The Pure Michigan brand is one of the most recognized tourism brands in the country,” Laukitis said. “It would definitely affect not only tourism within the state, but tourism within Holland, Michigan.”
Laukitis said she will be personally contacting state representatives to see what can be done to restore the funding. Travel Michigan — a site launched to support the Pure Michigan Brand — recognizes Holland as one of West Michigan’s seven Beachtowns.
The dollar-for-dollar matching partnership promoting the entire area is under the Pure Michigan blanket, Laukitis explained.
Using the Pure Michigan logo on marketing material to promote the city of Holland is a “critical piece of our marketing puzzle that we know brings people to Holland,” Laukitis said.
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